With the the buildings and their corresponding mechanics fully implemented into the new, revamped Arcadia, it’s now time for the final few things we want to add before it’s time to get to testing! We’ve always planned to add more randomized event rooms, and with the rework we feel it’s a good time to add in a few of them.

Here’s the one we’ll add this time around:

Buff Shrines
A shrine that, upon approaching it, gives you a random buff for a limited time. The buffs we’ve got planned are the usual basic ones: increased attack (both magic and physical), increased cast & attack speed and increased EP regeneration. But we’ve also come up with a few less common: one that makes your shield much stronger, one that increases your movement speed, and one in which you won’t get knocked back. These last three will need to be tested to see whether they will actually be nice buffs to have in this setting, but we have our hopes up.

Grindea’s Blessings
A room with a Grindea statue that grants you permanent (as in they last until you end the run) blessings. These can be a level up, a gold skillpoint, a few talent orbs, gold, or a heal!

Shadier Merchant
A mysterious salesman who sells powerful items and skillpoints in exchange for a portion of your max HP. He’ll have three items on display each time this room appears, and depending on the item he’ll reduce your max HP by a certain number.

Little J
…will start appearing as well! First as a prisoner which you’ll need to save from a mean mini-boss, but once he’s released he’ll start appearing in shop rooms, allowing you to upgrade your bow as you progress through the floors.

We have more rooms planned as well, but for now we’ll just include the ones mentioned above (we gotta get that update out after all – we’ve been at it quite a while!) Once they are implemented we’ll only need to do some slight inhouse testing before pushing it out to frontline though, so stay tuned!

Now, with the new event rooms decided upon and fully designed, it’s time to get to making some new graphics. Or rather bringing in and adjusting some of our existing ones to fit the theme of these rooms.

First we have the Blessings of Grindea rooms, which will give permanent upgrades of various sorts (or just a simple heal). Our idea here is that the chest will open up and reveal the blessing as you receive it:

Next, Shadier merchant and his carpets. We might add some more props to this guy in the future, or maybe make him a different character entirely (a vampire, perhaps, seeing as he wants your life force ;)). For now though, he sits by a couple of torches, with each item displayed on a tiny carpet in front of him:

Finally, the buff shrines. Our idea here is that a buff icon will appear in the middle of the circle as you approach it. A strategy might be to avoid going close enough to activate the shrine until you find the boss room – but on the other hand, getting there without the buff might be hard enough! What will you do?

 

With these implemented, the Arcadia rework is more or less done (aside from some smaller polish things). Now all that remains is some inhouse testing to make sure things aren’t too buggy for the frontline users.

…and it’s a good thing we did! One of the first things we noticed was a hard to figure out bug that crashed the game every time we entered a specific type of event room. There’s also been a lot of other smaller but kind of obvious bugs that we’ve been able to clean out that definitely would impact the player experience.

Other than that though, our testing sessions have gone really well. Most things work and the main new feature (the building your town thing) feels pretty satisfying, to us at least! The whole of Arcade Mode has gotten some upgrades pacing wise, with things unlocking as you progress, which feels a lot more satisfying.

There’s still some bug hunting to do, and some smaller things to fix, but you should be able to expect the update around the 10-12th April, if things go as planned.

After several hours played we’ve far from unlocked everything, which is great. While I only get to the second floor of Evergrind and Fred gets to the later floors of the whole thing, we’ve unlocked things in approximately the same amount of time, which is as we intended.

The time it takes to get enough gold to unlock new buildings actually feels surprisingly well balanced in our opinion, but that might of course change once we upload everything to Frontline and hear more opinions!

As always when looking at something you haven’t touched for a while, there’s some eyesores. In between testing (when waiting for Teddy to upload patches with bug fixes), I went ahead and fixed a bunch of smaller things:

I forgot to draw an arrow from the old to the new money bags, but needless to say, the left one is the old and the right one is the new. The portraits have been slightly touched up. I still have a dream of going back and remaking a bunch of the older portraits one final time before we release the game properly, but for now these quick touchups will have to do :)

With this testing we’re getting closer to an actual estimate of when the Arcadia rework will go live on Frontline as well! If nothing unexpected happens, we aim to have it done around 10-12th April, basically somewhere early that week. There are still some small things we need to add or fix graphics wise, and we have a lot more systems to test as well, but this estimate includes the time we expect to spend on bug fixes.

Finally, let’s talk about one of the things Fred has been working on recently: Loods! In Arcadia, this is the name of a new feature, namely these cute little beings who appear randomly in rooms in Arcade Mode runs:

The Loods are mysterious creatures of unknown origins. Some say they are linked to the goddess Grindea in some way, but who can tell for sure? What we do know, though, is that there are several kinds of Loods in different colors, and that upon defeating a Lood, it will turn into treasure!

What kind of treasure the Lood turns into depends on what kind of Lood it is. Currently there are four known kinds who give gold, items, talent orbs and health pots respectively. Defeating them in itself won’t be too hard, since they don’t attack – the challenge lies in defeating them before they get bored and run off! As such, once a Lood spawns you have a very limited time in which you may try to defeat it to get the treasure. Fail, and it will simply leave!

Once the Lood is defeated it will turn into an idle form, which, upon room completion turns into a chest. We hope that the Loods will make Arcade runs even more interesting, as it adds a little random factor to the regular rooms. We have thoughts of including evil Loods that you need to defeat in order to be spared from something annoying as well, but we’ll see how things go with these friendly Loods first.

Can’t wait to hear your feedback on all of this once the patch goes live!

Time to start tying things together in the desert town (maybe we should come up with a name for it soon)! To start off this week I’m gonna focus on getting the groundwork (haha, get it) done, putting in some sand details and paths around the town, as well as making a few pieces of greenery to decorate the area.

First though, let’s deal with the walls surrounding the town! First I put in a quick something based on the piece of wall I made in the map outside of this one:

But I quickly felt this texture is way too busy, so instead I’m toning it down by a lot, so it doesn’t bother the eye quite as much:

Now, time to start working on that greenery! First up, a palm tree in three different sizes, and then, a little bush with berries:

Along the way I also adjusted the height of the wall, and made a few green versions of the cacti to go inside town:

Now it’s time to work on that sand beginning with the edges towards the water:

And then some sand surrounding the beach and the harbor:

And some decorative grass on said sand:

Applying the grass on the rest of the map:

…. and finally some of those roads, so you know where you’re going:

We continue to work on the details of the desert town, this time zooming into the harbor area. Crates, ropes and carpets are on the menu as we give this place a little more personality:

With so many new characters appearing in and around the desert town, I can only keep making portraits hoping to one day catch up with the number of sprites Fred makes for the area! Today it’d time to introduce the bartender who cleans glasses (and serves drinks) in the Saloon.

First, a reminder of his sprite from a while ago:

And then the WIP and finished version version:

And now, it’s my turn to take a quick break from the Desert Town to fix somethings for Arcadia! First up there’s a new NPC, who will appear as you develop the farm. Her character sprite was actually made a long time ago for story mode, where she’d play a mechanic part that was since scrapped:

Meanwhile, since Chika will be responsible for the eggs and hatching mechanics, we thought it was time to upgrade her from being permanently sad to actually enjoying her job a little (who doesn’t like chickens and/or eggs, right?):

Speaking of eggs, those things need drop appearances since you will be able to walk around with them in your inventory:

And as part of the farm experience, there will be a new perk as well! This one will make capturing eggs easier. Since my first attempt at this perk icon (the left) looked a bit like it had more to do with apples than pet capturing, I made a second version (on the right) which will more likely be the ones we’ll use:

And finally.. A strange little box:

What it will be used for? Announcing that you’ve captured a new fish, that will become available in your Aquarium in town, of course!

As for Fred, this week he has been battling a cold, but that didn’t stop him from making three salespeople for the market area of the desert town!

Here we have a shield maker polishing a shield, a potion salesman tempting you with one of those health pots (possibly?) and a weapon smith applying some final polish on her latest sword:

With the roof and stand decorations covering a little of their appearance, here’s a version showing what they look like without it (for science… or something):

There’s also a jar merchant, doing some final adjustments to his/her latest piece:

The desert town becomes more and more of a bustling town with these additions! We hope it’ll be able to rival Tai Ming in how alive it feels with NPCs and animations here and there. Don’t worry though, we won’t make it into a full “temple/dungeon” kind of deal. It’s just a chill place where you can grab some quests and upgrade your gear before heading on to the next real challenge :)

This week it’s time to start work on the upper right corner of the desert town, featuring the market area! In this first video, I’ll be making the first market stand which will serve as a base for the rest. The first one here belongs to someone selling jars: how exciting. …Or maybe not!

In the second part of the Marketplace, I’m making a bigger stand featuring three different sellers: one who sells weapons, one who sells potions and one who sells shields. A little more useful for the player, compared to the previous one, perhaps :)

Before continuing on with the market, have a portrait! This one is of one of the armwrestlers from two weeks ago:

The WIP:

…and finished sprite:

The final part of the marketplace means making three new stands, one for carpets, one double for hats/accessories and one for souvenirs! Also changed the color of the jar stand to further separate the stands from one another:

Meanwhile, this week Fred has worked on a bunch of NPCs! Not only will there be an autumn fae bandit leader in the Saloon, you’ll also get to see a couple of old friends(?), who may or may not be too excited about running into you again:

In the desert town more NPCs are appearing as well, and here’s one of them, a swimmer enjoying the clear water:

As Teddy continues to implement Arcadia Rework stuff, one or two new animations were requested as well. Here’s an animation featuring the gate to the farm, which can be either open or closed. If it’s open, the animals you keep at the farm will be able to roam around the entire map, while if it’s closed they’ll be kept inside the pasture:

Time to make Grindeas first set of boats! Starting with a small and rather simple one, there will be several more before we’re done. This is actually the first time I’m drawing boats, so bear with me and expect several stages of improving and adding details to these as we continue on.

Without further ado, the first one:

The second boat is actually more of a ship! There will be another similar one of these nearby, too. As you can see in the WIP video below, at first the sail was down, but as it was pointed out to me you don’t keep sails down while in port… I changed it (I know absolutely nothing of ships but it was a pretty dumb thing to not realize sooner! I’m sorry!)

WIP and finished thing:

Time for the third “boat”, which also is no regular boat, but a houseboat! I’m not 100% this is the color scheme we’ll go for in the end, but for now it’s a green, red and brown quirky kind of deal:

The final boat post this week and the final boat in the port: another smaller vessel this time, filled with cargo! Maybe it has come in from a bigger ship docked outside the harbor area?

As for Fred, this week he continues to make NPCs for the Saloon! As mentioned last week, there will be a lot of different characters here, and not all are human… Below is another selection of people visiting or working at this place: a bartender cleaning a glass, a caveling using a slot machine, someone at the bar, and a pianist for entertainment!

…and yes, Teddy is still working on implementing all the new Arcadia systems! Keep in mind there’s a lot of new mechanics to add, so it’s taking a little while. He’s aaaalmost done and ready to let us inhouse test before handing it over to you guys though! Stay with us just a couple of more weeks~

With the desert town progress underway, we decided to make a few changes on the right side of the map before I start rendering those houses. Here’s the original sketch (please excuse the house on the left side which I forgot to remove before saving this):

We decided to change the bottom left house in the picture below to one big two-story house instead, and add a large crate on the right house with a jump down, as well as another jump down on the lower level of the left house. This will make the houses stand out a bit more from the rest, and will look more interesting overall.

We also decided to add an entrance to the topmost house and move the marketplace a bit accordingly. We found that it having no entrance looked a bit empty, and the market place will probably only look better if it’s a little more pushed together:

On to the Ice cream parlor, which as I mentioned had a problem with the mirrored windows. I fixed this and added some silhouettes showing through the glass:

And now, since we have done a bit of work on the lower left side of the map, I decided to tie things together a bit by adding the remaining houses and some decorative stuff. I also replaced the church’s weaponry with Grindea-related imagery:

Now, the desert town creation continues with two new houses, a pair of buildings linked together by a rather thin pair of planks! The one on the left is supposed to be the living quarters of someone, while the one on the right is thought to be a warehouse of sorts. Not sure if both will be open or if we’ll close the doors on the warehouse until we can figure out a cool quest or something to happen in there.

For now, here’s the progress of the exterior:

Next we have the harbor, a rather big undertaking that will have to be divided in multiple parts! First up, the core of it all, the bridges:

These bridges will lead to a number of boats of different sizes, which will be what I focus on next. There will be crates and NPCs unloading cargo and strange items here as well, which is why this part is quite big compared to the rest of the town. By the time everything is finished we hope it’ll be all bustling with activity!

And now, time for another desert portrait! This time it’s the grandpa of the gardener family, the father of the mother who keeps pulling out poor baby carrots. His sprite, made by Fred, was posted a couple of weeks ago first:

This week Fred has been working on a bunch of NPCs, these too for the desert area. First up is several iterations of the NPC responsible for the jumping vegetable enemies posted before! This guy is an old gardener who has become a little.. unhinged in later years… I will say no more than that! Here’s a bunch of iterations, with the final version inside the green circle:

Next up, it’s time to fill the Saloon with people! While the interior of the Saloon hasn’t been made yet, there will be a ton of people there, so Fred has already begun working on a bunch of them!

First, there are two people in the midst of arm wrestling, and a trio playing cards:

There will be more like these coming, as we hope to create a feeling of the Saloon being bustling with activity, card games and entertainment :)

Another week and more desert progress! This week it’s time to begin making those houses that will appear in the desert town. First up is the church, where a certain follower of Grindea will appear:

In the beginning we thought it’d be fun to have a sword at the top of the building, kind of emulating the way churches here in the west have crosses up there, but we’ll probably replace this to something more associated with Grindea later on, such as a bigger version of Essence or something along those lines. For now though, here’s what it looks like:

Next building is the Ice Cream parlor! A place where you’ll be able to get a yummy snack. In the final image below, the window got mirrored so the light on it comes in opposite directions. I will fix this in the final version and possibly put silhouettes of ice creams through the glass as well.

Here’s the WIP:

And the next part of town I’ll focus on is the beach! A place where people go to relax and enjoy the pleasant weather around this area. Maybe play some beach volleyball or take a swim in the water:

The water around the area looks a little lacking right now, but I plan on asking Fred to make some animations for waves coming onto the shoreline, ans well as the usual water decorations:

Now, another portrait! Continuing on with the family of gardeners, it’s time to make a portrait of the father, the guy with the pot of unknown liquid:

And here’s the WIP:

As the Arcadia rework is well on its way, Fred has moved on to make a couple of things needed for it, in this case a sprite of Candy that isn’t hidden behind her giant cauldron, and a cute little familiar we decided to add that tags along with her:

How cute! Wouldn’t you like to have one of those familiars of your own? ….Well, maybe you will. Maybe you will.

Time to start (continue) working on the desert for real! Since the sketch is all done, it’s time to start bringing the fourth desert area to life, and we’ll start with the Saloon:

There are still a few things to do with this place, but I feel it’s best to iterate things rather than make the whole thing in one go – the best ideas usually come when you have the basics down and let it rest for a day. Instead, I’ll continue working on the basic skeleton of the area: getting the walls and general decorations down, before continuing adding props on a more detailed level!

For now, here’s what the Saloon looks like right now:

And now, time for the rest of the area! As mentioned, this is best done in several parts, starting with the basics:

The entrance to the harbor town will be in the lower parts of this area, which will be indicated by a wall of sorts, much like the wall around Evergrind City:

Next up, I’m adding a bunch of props using the editor, mainly cacti and bushes, and then, the path leading to the town and Saloon:

Then, some texture decorations of the sand and a bunch of pots:

Now it’s time to get down to detail level, adding stuff to give this area a little bit personality. First up, a few wanted posters along the way to the Saloon:

The Saloon will be a hangout for a bunch of shady characters, which will be foreshadowed by the posters above. As for the Saloon itself, there are some details left that I want to get down:

Finally, I’m adding some more stuff to the rest of the area using the editor: crates, barrels, jars, and a few bushes. In the end, here’s the area for now, more or less completed:

In the portrait area, we’re not done with the archaeologists just yet! Here’s the portrait of another one, the pink haired one shown a few weeks ago:

And the WIP:

In Fred’s department, his vegetables are now fully animated, bouncing around ready to be implemented as actual enemies:

And the female gardener from last week gets a husband who’s inside the house stirring.. a pot of water? A bland soup? Who can tell!

What we do know though, is that her father is keeping an eye on him, making sure everything is done correctly:

New week, new interfaces! This time it’s the last couple of interfaces for Arcade Mode, featuring how to build new houses and a notification window for when new NPCs are added to town:

Above is the first quick sketch of the notification box mentioned. We wanted to notify players of when new characters appear in town so they know what/who to look for. Instead of One-Handed it will say “A New Face in Town”, and instead of Defense, it’ll say the character’s name. We used to placeholder text to get a feeling for how big the fonts are.

Here’s the progress of taking the box from the sketch version to the actual one we’ll use in the game:

And the final window in its context:

Next up, building houses. When you inspect a signpost you’ll be presented with a window where Trunk informs you of what will appear in that area and how much it’ll cost. Extremely(!) detailed sketch below:

Again, bringing it from sketch to final box:

Once more we’ve used a placeholder text to get a feeling of how big text will appear inside the box. Instead of One-Handed it’ll say the name of the building, and instead of Candy’s line from Pumpkin Woods there will be a description of the house and what can be done there. The coin box to the bottom left of the window will tell you how much it costs to unlock this building, while the checkmark and x will confirm or cancel. The x will be selected by default to avoid accidentally building things you wouldn’t want.

Final version below:

Next up, a bunch of icons, featuring both curses and Bishop challenges:

This first batch are all Bishop challenges. The first one is the one where you race against time to complete each room in a specific time or get instakilled, the second represents the only elites challenge, the third is for the challenge where you’re blinded the whole time. The fourth is for the runs when you can’t level up, and the fifth and final icon is for the combined no leveling / only elites challenge:

Next up, the next bunch of curses:

The first one being where the floors turn to ice, the second where you’re surrounded by flames, the third being the curse which allows higher level enemies to spawn on lower level floors, the fourth is a curse that makes you take double damage.

The fifth is the curse which makes enemies leave something harmful behind when they die (poison clouds, acid, etc), and the last one is a slightly modified version of the bishop challenge above, for the curse which either blinds you temporarily at the start of each room, or has blinding mushrooms spread across the floor. If we go for the mushroom idea, we’ll likely change the icon, but for now this is the placeholder until we’ve tried the two modes out:

Now, in preparation to move from Arcadia to the desert, here’s some small Arcadia fixes to conclude my work there (for now):

Above is a screen of Trunk talking to Bishop, during which we realized his portrait is a little too big and feels too close to the text. First mission: make it smaller!

Second mission, giving him a proper expression for a special moment where he gets a little surprised to say the least:

This is approximately what Arcadia will look like when you first arrive, but there’s a little something missing here:

What’s that? A ruined bridge, of course! We realized it’s kind of weird that some things have already been set up on the other side of the water without any indication of how people got over, and it looks a little more interesting to have it there:

Okay, so time to move to the desert. Here we have a pathway that’s supposed to be blocked, so you have to move around the area before unlocking a way to pass through here:

And what’s stopping you? More cacti! Bigger ones, this time. Time to make a bunch:

And here they are, in their rather huge glory! We’ll probably add a bunch of these here and there to keep you from being able to destroy everything (most other decorations – the smaller cacti – can be cut down by the player, while these cannot):

Next up, another place that will be blocked until you’re actually supposed to get here:

Here, we want the stairway to be blocked by a couple of archaeologists who have made interesting findings in the area. This serves both as an introduction to the fact that there will be archaeologists here, as well as a temporary way of blocking your progress until you’re ready for the desert storyline:


(Of course I couldn’t leave the stairs looking as empty as they did, or you wouldn’t really buy why the archaeologists are interested in it..)

And with the new, more epic looking staircase, this one looks rather boring in comparison:

Time to fix the problem:

Next up, another portrait! As Fred keeps making new NPCs needed for the upcoming quests, I make the portraits to match. This time it’s another archaeologist, consulting a map. Sprite below:

And here’s the WIP:

As for Fred, this week he has been working on finishing up the vegetable lineup from last week! Here they are, in all directions:

Needless to say, these fellow will of course be animated as well, bouncing around in a cute way:

And where’s there vegetables, there’s a garden, right? Here’s a gardener, pulling up some rather small and sad looking vegetables in comparison to the lively one above:

We’re back! Hope you guys have had a great holiday, a merry christmas and a happy new year! Now it’s 2018, and as we continue working on and implementing Arcadia rework, it’s only natural that our weekly meeting has a lot to do with establishing the smaller details of how everything will work!

Early Gold Quests
In order to quickly get your first building(s) up and running, we’ll add a couple early quests with gold rewards to speed things up and get your into the whole building thing as soon as possible! Some will probably be reused from old Arcadia, while a couple will be brand new.

Balancing Gold Rewards for Slow Builds
How much gold you get per run/room will be balanced is a tough one, because we don’t solely want it to depend on how quickly you clear rooms (even if they will play into it too, of course). Using only speed as an indicator would mean that certain builds, such as anything involving Insect Swarm for instance, would get a lot less gold vs the builds with faster clear times. To counter this, we’ll award extra gold depending on how long your active time on a run is, meaning if you play for a long while with a slower build, you’ll still get the proper gold reward that quicker builds get.

Build Time for Unlocked Buildings

Remember how I mentioned a build time that would count either IRL time or Arcade run time (or a mix of the two where time passes faster if you play Arcade Mode)? After some discussions, our current stance is that we’ll probably skip build times altogether.

This was a kind of difficult decision because we wanted to give players another incentive to play more Arcade Mode (play the game to unlock your building/unlock it faster)! However, you’ve already played Arcade Mode to gain the gold used to unlock the building, so it felt a little unfair that now you have to play the game more before it actually spawns, even though you already paid for it. Instead, we’ll probably use a fade to black effect with some building sounds before you return in front of your fully built property.

We’re still not 100% sure about this, and each of us actually have our own preferred version with the fade to black being the compromise. What would you guys prefer? Would build time be a nice or annoying thing?

A couple of Treats & Curses
We’ve only just begun planning for these, but here are the ones we’ve come up with so far:

Curse – Increased Elite spawn rate
Curse – No/Reduced healing (or both as two separate curses)

Treat – No Elites spawn at all
Treat – More HP from HP orbs
Treat – You start your run with a Time Crystal that rewinds time to when you first entered the floor if you should die. Meaning you get a chance to play through the floor again and fix your mistakes!
Treat – Increased chance of getting treasure rooms

Keep sharing your best ideas and we’ll see where we end up with all of these!

And now, time for more interface design, this time featuring the Arena! As a reminder, here’s what it looks like in Story Mode:

There are two categories, Challenges and VS. Challenges won’t be available in Arcade Mode, but there will be something else:

Boss practice! For those of you who have troubles with bosses, we know it’s really difficult and annoying to get chances of practicing against them as you have to survive a whole lot of regular enemies first. To give players a chance to polish their skill against these more difficult bad guys (as well as a way of learning their patterns), the Arcadia Arena will let you pick and choose among the bosses you’ve reached so far (no skipping ahead). When designing this interface, I presented two options: one featuring three bosses per page (with a scrollbar), and their name next to them:

..and another, featuring just the boss images, with their title and description shown only in the text box instead:

It’s likely we’ll go for this second version as it has room for a lot more enemies and the text box won’t be used much anyway!

Once you’ve selected the boss you want to practice against, you’ll be presented with three character slots, featuring the last three characters who reached that specific boss, with their equipped weapon and main skill of choice shown beneath them:

This is so that you’ll have approximately the right level and equipment for the boss fight (as your current Arcadia character is level 0 with no gear what so ever)! It gives an accurate representation of the fight, as it reflects how you got there last time, and allows you to try out the fight with possibly different builds (if you change playstyle between runs).

Once you’ve selected which of your old characters you want to rebattle the boss as, you’ll be transported directly to the boss room for another go at the battle! Currently, none of these will cost gold or any other value, so you can practice as much as you like :)

The next interface up on the design table belongs to the Bank and involves trading essence for gold, and gold for essence! For this interface we’ll use the Quantum Lumber interface from Housing as a base:

The main difference between the Lumber interface and the Bank’s interface is that instead of Lumber we’ll deal with Essence (obviously), and that you’ll be able to either buy Essence by handing in gold, or sell Essence and get gold back for it.

From the beginning we thought we’d deal with both in the same interface (calling it exchange instead), where you’d scroll right to get more Essence and less gold, and scroll left to get more Gold but less Essence (with a symbol for the respective currency on either side). However, we felt it’s probably easier to understand if we just call it Buy/Sell Essence and keep them separated.

Here’s our first try at a modified version of the Lumber interface:

Here, the Lumbers have each been replaced by an Essence statue. The top box will contain a number indicating how many Essence you want to buy (or sell), the number next to the big coin will let you know how much that will cost you (or how much you’ll get back for selling your precious Essence), and the number next to the Essence-with-a-coin indicates the current exchange rate (which don’t change the way things are designed now, but we thought it might be interesting to know).

The small gold coin is next to your current gold total, and the Essence-with-a-bag shows how many Essence you currently own. Pretty much like it is in the Lumber interface, in other words!

To make it more clear whether you’re in buy or sell mode, we made two variations of the above interface, one with a plus next to the top Essence icon (indicating this is the buy interface), and one with a minus (indicating this is the sell interface). There’s also a corresponding plus and minus next to the coin, to show whether you’ll gain or lose gold on the affair:

Finally, the shop menu (where you select Buy/Sell or Talk) needed two new buttons for this, so here they are as well:

Remember Trunk, the sidekick who will fill the role of (a more cheerful and optimistic) Bag in Arcade Mode? In order to communicate with you properly, he of course needs to have his own portrait:

The final version, slightly cut off to fit the text box:

Finally, there’s a bunch of NPCs made by Fred! Some of these have portraits that have been showed before, but the two on the right are brand new archaeologists that will be inspecting the old ruins and skeletons found in the desert!

Alright, back to business (ALSO SORRY THIS POST IS SO LATE! Scheduling got messed up again (I will set an alarm to check that it actually works, I promise)! As mentioned before, we’re at the point where we need to design a lot of interface stuff and decide how things will work together and unlock in terms of the new Arcadia rework features.

These include new interface indicator for gold, treats and curses when you’re running around inside Arcadia itself. Here we decided to combine Treats and Curses. Previously we said you could pick either Treats or Curses, and have three of each, but since then we have changed our minds: now, you’ll be able to pick and choose between Treats and Curses, but you can only pick 3 in total. It’s good to keep in mind that 3 isn’t a 100% fixed number at this point, we’ll have to try things out and see what feels good. The final number could be anywhere between 2-5 (is my guess, anyway).

We haven’t actually decided on which specific Treats or Curses to include yet, so if you have any cool ideas, feel free to share them with us! As a reminder, Treats are features that will make an Arcade run easier, but lowers your score, while Curses make your runs harder and increases your score!

Selecting Treats/Curses at their respective NPC will need a menu of its own too, as will the Cinema’s replay feature (where you’ll be able to view past runs), the Bank exchange service (where you can convert Essence to Gold and the other way around), and Master Ji’s challenge selection (where you pick which of his shield-focused challenges you want to try). We also need to come up with the challenges the latter will have.

The Arena will mainly use the interface from Story Mode, but we will also need a menu where you can select your last three characters that reached any boss in the game and have a go at the boss again. Here, we’ve decided to keep the Multiplayer mini-games, while the single player ones will be replaced by the boss-rebattle feature. Our reasoning here is that it might be fun to be able to challenge your friends to mini-games in the Arena without having to start Story Mode (since we have the arena anyway, you know), while the single player portion of the Arena doesn’t make as much sense to keep and works better in Story Mode alone.

There’s also another matter we need to discuss, and finalize: whether the build time of unlocked buildings will count IRL time, the time you play Arcade runs, or both. Last time we talked about this we could not decide, so now’s possibly your last chance: what would you prefer? To wait a short while regardless of what you do, to have to play arcade runs for the buildings to finish, or to be able to shorten the waiting time by playing arcade mode?

Let us know what you think!

So, time to get those new interfaces going! First up, the main interface as you run around Arcadia. Here’s the old version of the interface:

And here’s a basic suggestion with a new gold indicator and slots for Treats/Curses:

Now, the treats and curses will affect your score multiplier by a certain percentage each: either they’ll increase your score or they’ll reduce your score. More score equals more rewards (and a higher place on the high score list!), so we felt it was important to include this in the interface somehow. Here’s a quick sketch featuring the score multiplier increase both next to the score and next to the treats/curses:

While we liked the idea of having the percentage show next to the score counter (that way it can show all through your run as well), we weren’t sold on having an exact copy of it next to the treats/curses. Instead, we thought maybe we should separate them and show how much each of your curses or treats actually subtract or add to your score:

As of now, we still haven’t decided whether we want to include the above version or just keep the cleaned up score multiplier next to your score (as seen below). Do you think you’d prefer to see how much each score adds/subtracts, or is that unnecessary information that only clutters up the interface?

Next up, we’ll continue the interface business by taking a look at the interface of one of the more important new features: Treats and Curses!

For this interface the important part is having enough room for a bunch of treats/curses, with a text box featuring a description of each treat/curse, a title bar (so you know which interface you’re in), as well as some way of letting the player know when treats/curses don’t work together – for example if you have on treat that disables all elite enemies along with a curse that makes them more likely to spawn.

In the above sketch I used the potion interface as a base. There will be a few key differences though: for one, it won’t cost you money to change curses/treats, at least not the way it’s currently designed. If you’re currently hovering over a curse/treat that won’t work with the ones you have selected currently, a speech bubble popup will appear with a stop sign, showing you which ones are incompatible. Next to the curse/treat title in the text box will be how much score will be added or subtracted to your score, in percent.

Once you select a curse, a new interface will pop up where you can select which slot you want to add the curse/treat to:

In this interface there will also be a total score counter showing how much your total score will be with your selected curses/treats. In the sketch above there’s another stop sign next to the incompatible curse/treat, however this will likely not be added to the game: instead, if you try to select a curse or treat when you have others selected that wouldn’t work with it, there will be a prompt asking if you’d like to remove the ones that are incompatible with the one you’re trying to select. If you answer yes, the above interface will pop up with the incompatible curses/treats removed: if you answer no, you’ll remain in the curse/treat selection screen.

Now, time to freshen up the graphics a bit:

Here I’ve added some proper graphics to nearly everything: Muffin’s Treats has a title sprite, the pop-up speech bubble indicating which curses/treats are incompatible has been added, and the background is properly made as well. The text I haven’t touched though, as it will be added properly with the game engine.

Next, same thing but with Candy’s title sprite:

And finally, the screen where you select which slot to add your selected curse/treat to! Again, the stop sign will probably not be used the way we ended up designing things, but we hadn’t finalized that by the time I finished making the graphics:

Next, a quick portrait, with and without hat:

And Fred’s section of this post features a return to the desert and more of its inhabitants! Here’s a whole bunch of the iterations for four of the characters you’ll meet in the harbor town, with the final versions inside each green circle:

…And an animation for that poor winter fae, who has been lured into the desert by his friend! Poor thing is suffering from the less than ideal weather for a winter loving creature!

With only a few days left before Christmas, we’ll take a small break and will return on January 1st! No weekly recap next week, in other words, but we’ll make sure to post a happy holiday post to cheer you all on over the holidays :) In the meanwhile you can sneak a peek of what will be shown in the recap of Jan 1st over on my own workblog! Until then~